Elevated Orai1 expression mediates tumor-promoting intracellular Ca2+ oscillations in human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Hua Zhu, Hui Zhang, Feng Jin, Mingzhu Fang, Mark Huang, Chung S. Yang, Tong Chen, Liwu Fu, Zui Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Effective treatment as well as prognostic biomarker for malignant esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is urgently needed. The present study was aimed at identifying oncogenic genes involving dysregulated intracellular Ca2+ signaling, which is known to function importantly in cellular proliferation and migration. Tumors from patients with ESCC were found to display elevated expression of Orai1, a store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) channel, and the high expression of Orai1 was associated with poor overall and recurrence-free survival. In contrast to the quiescent nature of non-tumorigenic epithelial cells, human ESCC cells exhibited strikingly hyperactive in intracellular Ca2+ oscillations, which were sensitive to treatments with Orai1 channel blockers and to orai1 silencing. Moreover, pharmacologic inhibition of Orai1 activity or reduction of Orai1 expression suppressed proliferation and migration of ESCC in vitro and slowed tumor formation and growth in in vivo xenografted mice. Combined, these findings provide the first evidence to imply Orai1 as a novel biomarker for ESCC prognostic stratification and also highlight Orai1-mediated Ca2+ signaling pathway as a potential target for treatment of this deadly disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3455-3471
Number of pages17
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology


  • Knockdown
  • Oncogenic
  • STIM1
  • Store-operated calcium entry
  • Xenograft


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